Fearless Speaking

For many people, the number one fear is not snakes, spiders, or even the dentist. It’s public speaking. Here’s a woman who can help you survive getting up in front of a crowd.

Not long ago Maggie couldn’t stomach speaking to her class. “At first I was very apprehensive and now, I don’t really have a problem with it,” she tells Ivanhoe.

A speech professor helped Maggie get a handle on her stage fright. It’s not that you want to get rid of stage fright, It’s that you want to learn to control it.

To do that, the speech professor says you should remember the word “PRESENT.” The “P” stands for preparation — visualize yourself making the speech.

In their panic, they keep putting off preparation, and preparation is really what makes you comfortable in that situation.

The “R” is for research. When she speaks to a group, she finds out all she can about the audience and relates stories to them directly.

The “E” is for enthusiasm.

If you’re not enthused about this, how can you expect an audience to be enthused?’

Be sincere and entertaining. The “N” stands for non-verbal communication. Using natural gestures will calm you, and it helps to look into the eyes of those you fear.

Maggie says, “In my case I think that eye contact helps a lot, so you don’t necessarily feel like you’re talking to a whole group of people.”

Finally “T” is for tying it up. A big finish will give you a graceful exit.

Two other tips — visit the location of your speech beforehand. That can help soothe your nerves. And arrive early so you won’t be flustered.

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